Emergence : From Chaos to Order, Paperback

Emergence : From Chaos to Order Paperback

2 out of 5 (1 rating)


'He's the man who taught computers how to have sex. And now, for an encore, he's working on a theory to explain the complexity of life and its myriad manifestations on planet earth.' New York Times In this book, one of today's most innovative thinkers, John H.

Holland, explains the theory of emergenceDSa simple theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Emergence demonstrates that a small number of rules or laws can generate incredibly complex systems.

From the checkers-playing computer that learnt to beat its creator again and again, to a fertilized egg that can program the development of a trillion-cell organism, to the ant colonies that build bridges over chasms and navigate leaf-boats on streams, this fascinating and groundbreaking book contains wide-ranging implications for science, business, and the arts. 'John Holland is an exceptionally imaginative person.

Often surprising, and always engaging, he takes the reader on a journey from simplicity to complexity' Sir Robert May


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 274 pages, line drawings
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Philosophy of science
  • ISBN: 9780192862112



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I have to say that I found this book less interesting than I had hoped. Coming to it with a biologist's interest in the emergence of complexity from simple systems, I found its detailed discussion of formal computer algorithms such as checkers-playing programs partly impenetrable (even though the serious maths is segregated into text boxes), and the dryness of the subject didn't make me want to penetrate it further. The discussion of scientific models and metaphors in general seemed simultaneously superficial (compared to what I have encountered from philosophers of science), and too detailed in specific areas of information theory that I don't appreciate. This book didn't grab me. It might interest students of information theory or computing theory, but I think most general readers would find it arid. MB 31-viii-2008